Funded Family Care changes 2020

Funded Family Care is health funding for some eligible disabled people to employ their resident parents or family members over 18 to provide them with their personal care and/or household management supports.

The Government has announced changes to Funded Family Care policies of the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards to take effect in 2020.

The changes are:

  • repeal of Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000
  • change to eligibility to allow:
    • spouses and partners to provide Funded Family Care to people with high or very high support needs
    • children and young people under the age of 18 with high or very high needs to receive Funded Family Care from resident parents or family members (who are over 18)
  • removing the requirement for an employment relationship between a disabled person and their resident family member under the Ministry of Health’s Funded Family Care policy
  • raise pay rates for funded family carers under the Ministry of Health’s Funded Family Care policy, to be consistent with the rates received by care and support workers.

The changes are expected to be in place in 2020. The Ministry will continue to provide further information about what this means for disabled people and their family and whānau.

View the background documents for the Funded Family Care change.


On this page:

Changes to Funded Family Care in 2020

Policy change to Funded Family Care to increase pay rates, change eligibility and implement alternative employment options, is planned for 2020. It is important to ensure that changes are carefully planned and implemented. The Ministry will carry out further targeted engagement with disabled people, family members and stakeholders to assist with this work.

What Funded Family Carers will earn

Funded Family Carers under DHB policies already receive pay that is consistent with care and support workers.

However, Funded Family Carers under the Ministry of Health’s policy currently earn the minimum wage of $17.70 per hour (plus additional funding to meet employment obligations such as leave cover and ACC levies). The Government will increase these pay rates to the rates that care and support workers are paid (currently between $20.50 and $25.50 per hour).

Family carers will not be included under the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017

Changes to family carers pay rates will not be made through legislation. The Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017 implements a specific settlement between the Crown and unions. Funded family carers were outside the scope of those negotiations.

The proposal is to reflect a comparable pay scale, service and qualification levels through new policy. The Ministry of Health will provide further advice to Ministers on the approach to increased pay rates for funded family carers, and work with the sector prior to implementation in 2020.

How the sector has played a role in giving Ministers advice on changes

Targeted Engagement on Funded Family Care and Paid Family Care with the sector helped to inform changes. The Ministry will carry out further targeted engagement with disabled people, family members and stakeholders, such as how different employment arrangements might work in practice. More information on engagement and further work will be included on the website.

People will also be able to make submissions to the Select Committee considering the repeal of Part 4A.

Replacing the employment arrangement between a disabled person and their funded family carer under the Ministry’s policy

The requirement for a disabled person to be the employer of their resident family member under the Ministry Disability Support Services Funded Family Care policy will be removed.

The final design of the Funded Family Care policy and employment arrangements for 2020 is yet to be determined. This will be informed by further engagement with stakeholders. We know from the targeted engagement that some people are comfortable with the employer role and want to have the choice. Consideration will be given to options that do not place unreasonable expectations on disabled people, their family or whānau.

Under the DHB policy, funded family carers are employed by a contracted provider.

Changes will not affect the funding, assessment process or allocation of hours available through the Ministry of Health’s Disability Support Services.

Funded Family Care is one option that disabled people and their families can choose for the provision of their allocated supports.

How the changes relate to benefits of disabled people or their families

The changes to Funded Family Care planned for 2020 are for the Ministry of Health and District Health Board policies. There will not be any corresponding changes to the benefits provided by the Ministry of Social Development.

However, Funded Family Care paid to family to provide care and support to their eligible family member is treated as income. Funded Family Care may reduce any income-tested assistance paid by the Ministry of Social Development, as the amount earned increases. If you would like to know how any changes might affect your assistance, please contact the Ministry of Social Development on 0800 559 009.

Before changes come into effect in 2020, further information will be provided to support disabled people and their families in making decisions about how they receive household management and personal care supports, and how this may affect other support they receive.

The cost of Funded Family Care changes

To make the changes to Funded Family Care in 2020, the Government has set aside contingency funding of $32 million over four years.

This funding is considered sufficient to meet the immediate costs of implementing any changes to pay rates, eligibility and employment arrangements for Funded Family Care in the future.

The actual costs of policy changes to Funded Family Care are projected to increase each year, depending on uptake. The Ministry of Health will monitor and report on the actual costs of Funded Family Care in the future.

Why has it taken so long to announce the changes?

It is important to ensure that changes to Funded Family Care are carefully planned and implemented.  Since the Government announced the intention to change Funded Family Care in September 2018, targeted engagement on change was completed and informed advice to Ministers on options, and a funding bid was prepared.

The frustration of family carers and the people receiving care is acknowledged.

The effect of policy change for legal action

The planned policy and legislative changes for 2020 will address the main issues that have contributed to legal action in the past.

In December 2018, 13 claims before the Courts seeking damages for unlawful discrimination on the basis of family status were settled.

The changes to Funded Family Care will also address the issues raised in the petition presented to the Health Select Committee in 2018 seeking repeal of Part 4A and to pay family carers fairly.

The type of care covered by Funded Family Care will not change

There is no proposal to change the type of care funded. Funded Family Care allows payment of people to provide household management and personal care for eligible resident family members. Families will also continue to have the primary responsibility to care for their family members, even with any support they receive from the Government.

Other changes

The policy changes have focused on removing some of the main issues that have caused the most concern since introduction in 2013. These include:

  • the repeal of Part 4A
  • changing eligibility
  • under the Ministry’s policy, removing the requirement for an employment relationship between the disabled person and their resident family carer; and addressing the lower pay rate.

Part 4A is expected to be repealed in 2020

The repeal of Part 4A is expected to be passed in 2020, following Select Committee consideration. There will be an opportunity for people with care needs, affected families and other stakeholders to make submissions. Committees usually advertise calls for submissions on Parliament TV, Parliament Twitter, and they also send out press releases. Each select committee has its own page on the Parliament website.

Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 is the current legislation governing Funded Family Care policies of the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards.

The main criticism of Part 4A is that it prevents disabled people and their families from making a complaint to the Human Rights Commission or the Courts about discrimination on the grounds of family status.

The repeal of Part 4A means Funded Family Care policies will need to comply with human rights law and not unjustly discriminate against disabled people on prohibited grounds including disability and family status.

Disabled people and their families will no longer be prevented from challenging policies on the grounds of human rights discrimination.

The effect of change for Māori and Pacific people

Māori and Pacific people are higher users of Funded Family Care than other population groups. This may reflect different cultural expectations of the role of families in providing care. The Ministry has engaged with Māori and Pacific groups, and will continue to do so, to inform decisions.

Feedback from the Ministry of Health’s recent engagement showed that Māori and Pacific people support change in Funded Family Care. Choice, flexibility and simplicity are key themes. However, the clear messages continue to be the need for support to be culturally appropriate and mindful of the diversity of families, whānau and aiga and their circumstances, which can change.

How changes fit with other work on carers and welfare change

Changes to Funded Family Care is a key action for the new Carers’ Strategy Action Plan 2019-2023. The Action Plan also includes a draft action to review the financial supports available to carers.

The Carers’ Strategy is a partnership between the government and the Carers Alliance. The draft Action Plan, coordinated by the Ministry of Social Development is currently open for consultation.

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